Google fires author of controversial gender differences memo

Google Campus Logo
Google Campus Logo (Image credit: Android Central)

A memorandum released by a Google engineer went viral over the weekend after being released company-wide to internal networks. The memorandum in question asserts that the gender gap in engineering positions within the company are due to biological differences between men and women and that Google's diversity initiatives are misplaced because of these differences.

The memo comes at a time when Google is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for failure to comply with equal pay laws, specifically paying female employees less than their male colleagues. This also comes shortly after another Silicon Valley company, Uber, had their CEO Travis Kalanick resign amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Sundar Pichai's statement reads as follows:

From: SundarSubject: Our words matterThis has been a very difficult few days. I wanted to provide an update on the memo that was circulated over this past week.First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects "each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination."The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn't have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being "agreeable" rather than "assertive," showing a "lower stress tolerance," or being "neurotic."At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo — such as the portions criticizing Google's trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all — are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics — we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.The past few days have been very difficult for many at the company, and we need to find a way to debate issues on which we might disagree — while doing so in line with our Code of Conduct. I'd encourage each of you to make an effort over the coming days to reach out to those who might have different perspectives from your own. I will be doing the same.I have been on work related travel in Africa and Europe the past couple of weeks and had just started my family vacation here this week. I have decided to return tomorrow as clearly there's a lot more to discuss as a group — including how we create a more inclusive environment for all.So please join me, along with members of the leadership team at a town hall on Thursday. Check your calendar soon for details.— Sundar

The memo's author, James Damore, confirmed his dismissal to Financial Times. Damore has stated that he is "currently exploring possible legal remedies."

Tom Westrick
160 Comments
  • I was nearly fired from my job because I tweeted at my company that I was disappointed in them that they didn't participate in bring your kids to work day.
  • Free speech and free expression - not at Google ;)
  • Free Speech only applies to the government, not private entities.
  • Its amazing that employees still think that they have a right to free speech and free expression while on the job at your employer. You do not!
  • There's no free speech anywhere except when it comes to the government. I don't understand why people don't understand this simple concept.
  • Probably because it isn't correct... That's usually the best reason to "not understand" something. I'm curious whether you think it only applies within the government or normal folk when speaking about the government?
  • You have no free speech at work. You can be fired for any stupid thing you say that violates workplace policy, and the company has every right to do that. 🙄
  • What is the small black box at the end of your message supposed to mean?
  • The only entity obligated to respect your speech is the government. No other entity is under any such obligation. If an employer doesn't like your speech there are no laws that will protect you from being fired.
  • Because people are 160 character idiots who can't be bothered to understand anything that can't be explained in under 15 seconds
  • That isn't true, but it still doesn't apply here as this was an internal memorandum to his underlings, he was essentially (mis)representing the company rather than himself.
  • You have free speech in regards to not being arrested for it. But freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.
  • There is no free speech anywhere. The government is bound to not enact laws that limit your expression but can (and does) enact laws that make you responsible for it. In any case, none of that has anything to do with Google
  • Not cool Google, not cool, guy just expressed his opinion, got fired and after that Sundar agreed that certain views are up to debate... That is not how you deal with people. Guy had his opinion, maybe wrong but it was his opinion he had rights to express... Sacking him was not cool...
  • He had no right to express it.
  • He does have the right to express it. Google also has the right to fire him for expressing it
  • This.
  • Yep!
  • I think the argument was more about how he expressed himself as a representative of Google's culture and how that representation countermanded their code of conduct. This type of thing is difficult for any company to handle. If the employee is fired then the company is censorious but if the employee is retained then the company is discriminatory. This is the reason why so many people feel like they are not allowed to say anything about their beliefs in the workplace: because any statement of such things can be grounds for termination. It just happens to be that less people will complain about saying things that are socially acceptable ("PC" as it were) as opposed to minority views. So while our culture lauds itself as "tolerant" and "free" the litigious reality is that our culture is one of the most intolerant toward minority views. Fortunately, at the moment getting fired and losing your ability to regain employment is as bad as it gets in our culture right now. But there are also plenty who think more torturous consequences ought to be the norm.
  • Hmm, so a Google engineer says the company is not tolerant of different (i.e. non-leftist) viewpoints. And then they fired him. Well, Sundar, I believe you showed who was right. Typical juxta-progressivism.
  • You think gender equality is a "leftist" viewpoint? Tell me, what biological differences prevent women from coding? Do you think boobs prevent them typing? No, that can't be it cause I'm sure it's fine when they're secretaries.
  • The former Google employee neither states nor implies that being a woman imposes any limits on abilities. His argument (which is thoroughly references if you can find the unadulterated original) is that there are multiple factors that lead to there being much less of a likelihood to women choosing coding jobs when compared to men. It is basically a dude with a PhD in Biology talking about the effects of biology in the job market. It's just an inconvenient fact that points to diversity initiatives being a politically motivated waste of time and resources.
  • Biology has nothing to do with it, it's societal. How could biology possibly effect a woman becoming a coder? That's my question.
  • Well, I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but it is true that biology is increasingly the explanation for things that historically have been treated as environmental (upbringing, education, etc.). One example would be the assertion that depression or mental illness is the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. In the old days, we all would have agreed that something in the persons past had shaped them to be this way. And there's no denying that the complex cocktail of chemicals coursing through our brains has an enormous impact on every facet of our beings, including our innate capacity for things such as coding. I can accept that there could be a type of woman constitutionally incapable of becoming a programmer. I can also accept that there are some great female programmers, because I've worked with a few of them. But I gather this guy was making broad, sweeping statements, which often has a way of getting you into trouble. Edit: just to forestall the SJWs - everything I said above can apply to a man as easily as a woman. I don't have enough data to make any claims regarding incidence levels in each gender. So don't get carried away.
  • Biology does not prevent a women from being a coder. That's not what the Manifesto states. There are LOTS of GREAT women coders.
  • Here is how biology comes into play. The brain is very much affected by hormone levels. Men and women have different hormone ratios in their bodies. Those hormonal differences stimulate different interests in the male and female brains. Give a man enough estrogen over a period of time and soon enough not only will he grow a gorgeous pair of breasts but he will also start thinking, feeling and behaving much more like a woman even though he was raised as a man. He will cry more easily and more often. He will be less aggressive and less assertive. He will become more interested in agriculture, cooking and raising children than in hunting, weight lifting, making weapons and waging war. Of course he is still capable of doing all the things he used to do when testosterone ruled his life, but his interests will have changed. It isn't that women cannot code, but that their hormone levels suppress a strong interest in doing that type of work, therefore most women choose a different career path.
  • Did you read his critique? Because he lays out his reasoning, based on actual science, quite plainly. Asking this question makes it seem like you didn't.
  • He erred wrong when he floated into the "biological differences" part.
  • This exactly.
  • That's an asinine way to put things - and just as sexist to use the stereotypical role of women as secretaries. But then again, so is thinking that men and women are exactly the same with the exception of boobs and genitalia. The fact that men and women are very different, have different ways of thinking, and value different things doesn't make things unequal or mean one's superior over the other - just different. Women are much more likely to value flexible work schedules, opportunities to be at home more (i.e. telecommuting, less travel) and make their kids a higher priority than men. And many are more willing to trade pay or position for that flexibility - because again - they think differently than men. That's not to say that some women to value career more or men don't value flexibility - it's clearly a personal thing. Equality doesn't mean "exactly the same" or identical. My wife and I are very different people. She's much more emotional, I'm more logical. She's more loving and nurturing, and I'm more stoic. She is much better than me at certain things (especially forensic psychology), but that doesn't make me "stupid" or her "stupid" that she sees a computer or a phone as a tool rather than technological marvels that need to be torn apart. She is my partner and my complement and she is definitely my equal (though I would argue my better, in many ways). She's the heart of our relationship - I'm the brain. We see things differently, and things the other misses. Both are needed for our organization (our family) to function to properly. The same thing goes for any business. No one person can do everything well, and everyone brings something different to the table. The equality comes from using recognizing those strengths and using them in the best way possible to benefit the organization - regardless of race, creed, gender, etc. The ironic thing is that the version of equality that's espoused by some organizations is the direct antithesis to the diversity they want. They claim to value "what makes us different" but put in practice, it comes down to group think and if you rock the boat by being different, you're pushed out. In Google's case, they blew a major opportunity in my opinion. Instead of just drumming the guy out - why not debate and explore the topic? People can provide evidence to support their opinion and introduce new perspectives. Some may even be persuaded to change their minds from one side. If nothing else, understanding is gained from at least understanding a different perspective. But once again, someone rocked the boat with an uncomfortable thought, and some couldn't handle or challenge the assertion. So out they go. The irony of diversity is that the differences that should be valued are often suppressed because they're different.
  • First off, it was sardonic, not asinine. Now, you broke your point when you said some women value their career more than having a family, it's personal. That's EXACTLY the point it's personal. Not biological. There is no biological reason that men would be better at coding than women. None.
  • "There is no biological reason that men would be better at coding than women. None." How do you know this? The above is mere assertion without any evidence to support it. At least the Google Manifesto author supported his assertions with studies and facts.
  • If you really want, I can point you to studies which demonstrate that girls actually test better than boys in maths and science... But the whole idea is ridiculous. If you agree with him, show me some proof that men have a biological advantage... That's all I want. As far as I know logical thinking and problem solving are not related to the testes.
  • That's a big problem nowadays - people can find things on the internet that support any claim. It's hard to know which sources you should trust.
  • "That's a big problem nowadays - people can find things on the internet that support any claim." Like the claim that "nowadays" is a word.
  • "If you really want, I can point you to studies which demonstrate that girls actually test better than boys in maths and science..." Does this mean there are biological differences between men and women when it comes to various measures of STEM performance? This quote seems to suggest as much. (Not that I have a horse in this race, but it seems like you're mirroring what you're denying.)
  • So these studies suggest that a biological reason can explain these test results? Doesn't this argue against exactly what you're trying to argue?
  • Well said
  • It has more to do with why women are/aren't in technical fields. Some people think men are oppressing women and not letting them program when it really has to do with the majority of women not being interested in it. Part of the reason I left the Verge is because they went on this giant crusade about how it's sexist that women don't run the internet/gaming industry/IT etc. No discussion about why women are only 5% of the welders? Why are they not the majority in construction or working in the oil fields? Is it sexist or little interest? That's basically what he wrote, not that they can't do it because they are women. You could bribe my wife to learn how to code for a guaranteed $200k/yr and it would be like pulling teeth. She has zero interest in doing it even though she is very smart. My computer science courses were at least 20:1 men to women. We can into the whole gender roles discussion about girls being raised to wear dresses and doing girly stuff so that's the reason they didn't gravitate to programming/STEM blah blah blah but then you are still trying to force someone into a field/hobby/interest just so that they don't get pigeon holed into what exactly, some preconceived stereotype that some gender studies grad is unhappy about?
  • Why would those "girly things" have anything to do with interest in STEM? If a boy was into those "girly things" could they then not be interested in STEM? You may not have intended to do it, but you revealed your preconceived notions about gender roles. It's those unconscious biases that contribute to the problem.
  • I believe you missed his general point and are getting hung-up on a single comment. Men and women are wired different emotionally and mentally. That's been proven time and again. That doesn't mean a girl can't like boy stuff and a boy can't like girl stuff. But there are definite differences in how they both work and approach certain areas of life. At some point said "biases" become based on biological facts.
  • No I got the "general point" but the "general point" isn't the problem, much like the "general point" of the manifesto isn't the problem. The problem is very specific parts and the wording used, same as the comment I replied to. Biologically speaking, no one is born with a preference for certain clothing, or musical tastes, or a myriad of other things. Those are learned things. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to parent, but kids/teens/young adults/adults/everyone else should not have stereotypes perpetuated in the workplace. When they join the workforce they need to see that they can pursue whatever job they want (success in that job/field is not guaranteed). Perhaps more women than anyone realizes want a job in STEM, but they have a perception that it's "a man's job". Where would that come from? Certainly parents aren't explicitly teaching their kids that certain jobs are for boys and others for girls right? It's called unconscious bias. You don't even realize you're being biased. And then when someone points it out..."that's not what I meant" or "you know what I meant" or "you're nitpicking". No, I'm not. I'm calling you out for something you might not have been aware you were even doing. You can think I'm an idiot. I don't care. But sometimes it's a good thing to take a step back, think about things and what you say, and examine it. Maybe you'll learn or grow as a person. Maybe not.
  • Wow, condescending much? I think you could heed your own advice a bit in your last paragraph. I don't think you're an idiot at all, and your responses are well communicated. You state that you're calling someone out for something they might not even be aware of. I'm 100% sure there are times where you are absolutely right. But to presume that you're always right when you call someone out for unconscious bias is presuming a bit much. To say an individual is born with no preferences, and to imply (am I reading too much into your comment?) that humans only learn those preferences based on their environments is just not the whole truth. Is there some truth? Absolutely. But there is also truth in the fact that people are born wired certain ways - biologically, genetically, etc. - with certain bents and leanings. It's not 100% environment influenced. I believed this before I had children, but even more so after, in addition to other research and anecdotal evidence. I've read through his memo four times now. I didn't read anything he wrote as negative towards women any more than he was negative towards men. Example - he implies that the drive for higher status in men is actually a negative quality, not a positive quality (how that's being read any other way is a mystery to me). Second example - he discusses how women are more prone to anxiety and neuroticism. I'm sorry but this is a fact - women's emotions (generally speaking) are a giant bucket, everything intertwined. While men's are all separated in compartments. Neither is better or worse, but both lead to different positives and negatives that play out in different ways in every day life. I think he hit the nail on the head when he stated, ""...but when a man complains about a gender issue issue affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and a whiner." That's exactly what's happening here, and IMHO, exactly what you're doing by hand-picking certain words and parts and pushing them out of context. He's pointing out established differences in men and women that are neither positive or negative, and simply because he's pointing out differences, he's being raked over the coals, despite the fact that he keeps men and women on the same pedestal.
  • I can definitely see how I came across condescending, but that wasn't my intention. I did presume that I was right in this particular case, and based on other replies from the person I replied to it looks like I'm correct. I apparently have "a side" and share the same exact views as everyone else on "my side". Actually I guess that would be conscious bias. Oh well. I believe that environment is a bigger factor than anything biological for the typical cultural gender roles. That does go both ways. Women are expected to stay home and take care of the kids. Men are expected to work more and support the family. That is not biological, that is cultural and environmental. Aside from feeding the child, women are not biologically more capable of taking care of a child than a man is. Men are expected to be less empathetic and less emotional. But why? Because of some false sense of manhood? That also makes no sense. Men do not biologically have less emotional capability or capacity. I'm going to single this part out: "Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles." ^^^ He says that like it's a bad thing. One, "traditional feminine roles" like....taking care of the family, staying home with the kids, cooking dinner? That's not a bad thing. Two, if men leave tech and leadership and women fill those roles that will help diversity, which is the entire point. Three, why is men leaving tech and leadership not an ok solution to fix gender diversity? It's not like the those roles would go unfilled. Women would fill them, and men could do whatever else they wanted (it's not like this would happen overnight anyway). The author unintentionally (at least I perceive it as being unintentional) made the case for eliminating all "traditional gender roles". The overarching message I get from what he wrote is "I'm ok with the status quo, but others aren't, so do something to appease them but nothing so drastic as to cause uncomfortable amounts of change." People are averse to change. They fight it. And it's usually those that are happy with where they are and don't want their position challenged. In this case, he's not just speaking for himself, but for everyone that shares those views.
  • Sorry I'm just now getting around to this. I appreciate your well thought out response and agree with many of your points. On the part you singled out, I simply read that differently and didn't take it as him implying it was a bad thing at all, but rather just a thing - a natural consequence of freeing men from their traditional roles. On your first couple of paragraphs, we might simply have to agree to disagree. Men absolutely have the capacity that women do to be emotional, but they don't process it the same way at all. And men are, generally speaking, expected to be less empathetic and less emotional (though that has changed significantly over the last 50 years). But to say they have the same capability as women simply isn't true. Men's brains and women's brains are simply wired differently, and respond differently to most situations in life - this has been shown scientifically. It's what makes men and women great complements to each other when they can actually get along and work together as a team. Men compartmentalize like crazy, while women (generally speaking) do not. It's why the majority of serial killers and sociopaths are men - they naturally have the ability to segment portions of their lives, one completely unaffected by the other. It's also what makes women (again, generally speaking) more empathetic and better nurturers - i.e. better equipped at being moms in early childhood. I didn't say better parents, but better equipped for dealing with the nuances of babies and toddlers. Does environment play a factor? Absolutely. But I think I swing the other direction and believe biology plays as much (or likely more) of a part than environment. I'll throw out one anecdotal piece of evidence as well. We have a cousin with one biological sibling and 3 adopted siblings. All five are within a few years of each other age-wise. The 3 adopted siblings came from two drug addicts who were (and still are) in and out of jail (as were their parents). They were adopted when the youngest was a few months old and the oldest was barely 3. They were all raised in the same environment with the same parents, same schools, same discipline, same opportunities, etc. The two biological siblings would be what most would consider good kids - did well in school, never got into any major trouble, worked hard to get good jobs, and are both married with young kids of their own now. The three adopted siblings have a very different story - they had major struggles in school, all three delved into drugs, the youngest still struggling with them. All three have had brief stints in jail. The older two will likely turn out ok as they're getting their life straight. The youngest has had the most struggles (the one who had the least environmental exposure to the biological parents), and unfortunately the jury is still out on her. So between the science and the anecdotal evidence I've seen, I simply can't believe that biology doesn't play a large part in all of this. And again, I'm not saying environment doesn't play a part - I just don't think it plays a majority role. Sorry for the long post...
  • I like how no one is born with preferences to certain things but the whole LGBT movement was based around it being, "born this way". Now it's a choice and learned behavior, the same argument the Christian's used against this type of dogma. Are you sure you don't believe in some sort of new postmodern religion? Keep trying to reeducate people. I wish you the best of luck. I'll do my part to not influence my kids with micro aggressions and unconscious bias. I'm trying my best to not assume it's gender. When it was born I lectured the doctor about this bias and did not announce the sex of the baby because that would be a stereotypical gender role of a man. Who am I to announce the gender of this non-bionary child that I should not have any influence? I've already done too much and I'm turning myself into CPS. Thanks for your encouragement and brave words.
  • Yeah, clothing and musical preferences are exactly the same as sexuality.
  • It's your sides argument. I'm just regurgitating what you guys preach.
  • What "argument"? Gender and sex aren't the same thing. There is no argument against that. You either believe science or you don't. And if you don't then I have no interest in discussing anything else with you. You can go back to believing the earth is flat and is the center of the universe and is only 6000 years old. That's what your side preaches right? ^^^ Did I do that right?
  • You have been studying your sjw handbook well. When you have no argument, call them a flat earther. Keep believing your religion.
  • I also attend the weekly bible studies. :P I can't force you to use intelligence or logic.
  • I'll make sure to ignore biology in the future and tell the lions about their unconcious bias that makes them pursue antelopes. In reality they are all pansexual vegans that have lived for generations under oppressive societal norms. It's time to break free of the tyranny.
  • Well said
  • You obviously didn't read the Manifesto, need to read it again or are just being willfully ignorant if you think the gist is "biological differences prevent women from coding".
  • Good. He created a hostile work environment. He deserved to get sacked.
  • Whew, glad he didn't wish anyone Merry Christmas. Google might have to have an exorcism and public hanging.
  • 😂😂😂
  • That was literally the most unintelligent response anyone could have ever written to my comment.
  • Yeah... Pretty much...
  • Right, because your opinion was obviously super-intelligent. Behold the magnificence!
  • You couldnt say Merry Christmas...cus it got you fired under Obama.
  • citation needed.
  • Sundar Pichai created a hostile work environment when he fired this guy for expressing a dissenting opinion in a well reasoned and respectful way. Sundar deserves to be sacked.
  • Would a woman have been fired for writing a similar memo? I think NOT
  • Yes. Women have been fired from Google for violating the code of conduct, which is what he got canned for.
  • Clever misdirection there.
  • How is LITERALLY answering the question a misdirection lol? Are you trying to be sarcastic?
  • He disagrees with the answer but can't come up with an intellectual response
  • Damn straight. I'm sure it must be frustrating, But I think the best recourse would've been to just shut up lol.
  • The misdirection is conflating getting fired for violation the code of conduct (in general) with getting fired for posting politically incorrect factual statements (which just happen to fall under the large umbrella of the code of conduct). The original poster claimed that had a woman penned the exact memo she would not have been fired and Jerry did not offer a logical rejection of that claim.
  • He was fired for violating the code of conduct. Most likely, after consultation with an attorney who specializes in employment laws. If a woman, or a person of color, or a disabled person or even a Martian had done this they too would have been fired. Google's hiring and firing practices are under a microscope and not steered by hard feelings. The recommendation of the experts would not change based on gender and Pichai is smart enough to follow them to the letter.
  • Well, Google doesn't have to give any reason to fire him. After the memo his services were no longer needed.
  • I don't disagree with the fact that the guy was not entitled to his position and therefore can be fired without cause (or for any cause). I just don't think that a series of factual statements in an internal narrative warrant a firing in this case. I also think that he has a point in that the gender affirmative action policies are harmful to employees. It'll be interesting to see how the lawsuit goes.
  • I'm not sure why you think the statements are factual. And I'm sure how he came to the conclusion that women don't go into tech because of the reasons he stated. He simply made assertions.
  • I respect your opinions Jerry, but I believe this comment to be a bit naive. If a woman or person of color had penned a memo logically laying out details as to why they felt the company was mishandling these policies in a way that negatively affected them, the likelihood of them being fired is slim to none. That's all this guy did. He just happened to fall on the less politically correct side of the argument, and *that* is why Google used the Code of Conduct policy to fire him - and they have every right to do that. But to think they would've treated a woman or person of color the same is simply not true. What would've happened is something more akin to, "We're reaching out to said individual to discuss our policies and find out why they feel this way and how we can improve and ensure that all genders and races feel as though we're treating them equally within our company."
  • I don't understand why people think he was fired because someone didn't like what he said. I'm sure plenty of people at Google didn't like it. including people in the position to fire him. But that's not how things work, especially when all eyes are on the situation. The legal team made the decision. Which is probably a very smart move because the moment it was announced that he was fired people started talking about a legal defense for him to sue Google. the same decision would be made no matter who "started" it. Google HR doesn't work like HN or Twitter. There are real policies that have to be followed unless investors are happy with paying dearly for them not to be.
  • So do you think that if the Google higher-ups and his fellow employees applauded him for this he still would've been fired? Legal decision or not (though aren't they all, really?), he was fired because people didn't like what he said. And they didn't like what he said because he was on the wrong side of the argument in Google's progressive culture. And I'm sorry, but I believe you're simply wrong - who started it matters. And it *especially* matters to investors once it gets in the public eye the way this story has. That's *exactly* how things work, and *especially* when all eyes are on the situation.
  • He got fired for supporting gender stereotypes, which is definitely a breach of the conduct code (section II). You can also be fired for having a bias according to the same section in the code. The code makes anyone questioning the stereotypes for any possible legitimacy liable to dismissal. Therefore, questioning whether men and women have biologic differences which may feed into any stereotype (whether true or false) or having a bias toward information is grounds for dismissal. This will have the intended chilling effect. Therefore anyone who was supportive of James will also need to be fired. Anyone who had operated on a bias will need to be fired. To be consistent, this will need to be the first of hundreds or thousands of firings. Anyone harboring a gender stereotype cannot research their validity, or question them, according to the code of conduct, section II.
  • The code of conduct also states that Google shouldn't discriminate against anyone. Yet it has internal networks that restricted to people of different genders and races. Apparently you can discriminate if you do it in the name of inclusion and diversity.
  • You are are a representative of the organization you work for. When comments that are derogatory, racist and hateful it represents the company in a bad way. This person deserved to be fired. You can easily express your opinion in various locations Facebook, Twitter etc. But when you have your place of employment listed on your profiles that looks bad for them. Posting on an internal company site is even worse. I'm sure he signed some type of morality/behavioral clause when he was hired. He should have known better.
  • Um... how was what he wrote racist? Are women a different race now? And since this was an internal memo, how was this affecting the company name, unless they themselves made it public to scare other prospective 'free thinkers' into submission? Personally I'd counter sue them for harassment.
  • As I recall he referenced supposed IQ differences between races too
  • He did not reference IQ differences at all, other than to vaguely say that the left denies science about IQ differences, and the only mention of race was to say that he feels it is wrong to limit certain discussions and classes to specific races and genders.
  • I re-read it and you're right that there's nothing explicit. I would point out that talk of biological IQ differences is a pretty classic dog-whistle for scientific racism, so I don't know that it's unfair to wonder about the implications there
  • His reference to IQ differences may have been a reference to Charles Murray's work, but it's hard to say when there is no context.
  • I wasn't referring to what he said was racist. I was giving examples of something that would be unacceptable. These things include racist comments, sexist comments, hateful speech of any kind which is what this was. I'm all for one expressing their opinion but we should remember that there is a place to do that and a place not to do that. What he was expressing shouldn't have been expressed in the office.
  • I fail to see how anything he said gave a bad light to Google. He just said what 50% or more of Google's customers already know. Firing him for simply presenting a well thought out opinion is not a good way to ingratiate yourself to your customers. But when you are a zealous social justice warrior, the cult demands adherence, or you get destroyed.
  • Are you okay with his opinion, do you agree with it? This has nothing to do with over sensitive people that need to grow up and put on big boy/girl pants. He did this in a place that you shouldn't have to deal with this garbage. How would you fell if I came into your office or even your home and attacked your IQ, your look or even your gender? I'm betting you would not be okay with that.
  • It is indicative of certain political groups to dismiss proven facts as "garbage". You getting offended does not garbage make, and indeed may prove the opposite.
  • But it's perfectly fine for Google to continue to tout the gender stereotyping of women as constant victims of men (which is a lie), and don't you dare say anything different, or we'll fire you for promoting a different stereotype than our stereotype. Progressives are such cowards. Such lame, little cowards.
  • When do Google do this? Do you have any examples?
  • You're working pretty hard here in this comments section to support gender discrimination in the workplace. Maybe you can explain your position to POTUS in 140 characters or less.
  • I can explain his position in less than that: Loves him Bigly.
  • There's not lack of females present at the franchise Hooters. They are all packed with them right.
  • The only things that matter are skill and talent... If you pass people with those qualities over because they have "the wrong genitalia", you're bad for the company.
  • THAT is exactly what the guy was saying in the memo. He agrees with you that passing over better qualified candidates to fill the requirements of a diversity program is wrong and he's calling out Google for doing just that. He's also suggesting that there are other possible reasons for the gender representation gap in the tech world other than discrimination.
  • His opinions were well thought out and articulated in a long memo to internal employees. I bet he had his stuff packed as soon as he hit send. This was his, "on-my-way-out" to Google. Some employees go in peace, some shout obscenities and kick over the water cooler. He expressed his opinion and planted a seed in the minds of every employee he could. No matter who takes over, employees will consider the validity to his points when continuing their employment.
  • Haha. I'd love it if in the signature field at the bottom it just said "I'll get my coat".
  • The gender differences that the guy pointed to in the memo are the same stereotypes that women in the field have been fighting against for decades, so I can understand how what he wrote contributes to a hostile environment for every woman who works at the company. I can definitely see why that's an offense worthy of a firing
  • I read the memo. It looked like he saw a disparity in Google's practices and was trying to make a point that he felt was fair and had value. He specifically points out biases both on the right and on the left. The clear point of the memo was to eliminate what he perceived as Googles internal prejudices. He even offers what he felt are constructive ways to reduce gender discrimination. Even if you disagree with what he was trying to do (which, after reading the memo, was not attempting to engender discrimination), he was clearly fired for expressing an opinion. Had it not been sent out to the media as a leak, it probably would have been debated fairly and sparked off a constructive discussion and not resulted in his being terminated. This is really chilling. There should have been a different response than firing him.
  • Somebody give this guy a Nobel Peace Medal.
  • What the memo accomplished is certainly not Peace.
  • OK, the now, former Google Engineer made some valid points. However, he may have been 100% correct had he been working at a physical laborious factory or construction company. However, This is white collar employment and I don't know of any "biological" limitations on women that prevent them from doing equally as good of a job as men. I want to stress this... His paper was well articulated and made great points, but he steered into a tree stump the moment he ventured into areas that are subjects of debate and not factual. All this talk about men having more drive, because of biology is complete hogwash. I agree with his assessment that women tend not to want tech jobs, but that isn't due to any biological cause that anyone knows of. If anything, I'd argue that its a cultural problem - a problem in which Google is playing an active role in trying to correct. This guy created a hostile work environment by making mass assumptions about the general female populace (A simple exception for the talented women currently employed at Google might have done the trick here) and thus, was terminated... And rightly so.
  • Only a complete and utter wuss would feel threatened by another's opinions.
  • "However, he may have been 100% correct had he been working at a physical laborious factory or construction company." I stopped reading right there because that line is pure rubbish. He would not have been 100% correct. Women are just as capable as men at construction jobs.
  • Up until now your responses in this thread made a lot of sense. But it's a biological fact that *in general* men are *physically* stronger than women. That doesn't make women lesser humans. That doesn't mean they aren't smart enough (maybe too smart?). But that does mean they *might* be less qualified for a job requiring a lot of physical strength, in the same way a man might be less qualified to have a baby because strength does not equal toughness...
  • I work in construction and there are a lot of woman who are not physically capable of doing the job and if they were a man they would have been fired.
  • You're fired.
  • LOL
  • That's not rubbish it's a stat. Statistically men are stronger then women. Statistically women who perform hard labor are more prone to develop stress fractures then a man performing the same action under the same load.
    The military has done a ton of testing, and these have been statistically proven to a point where it's actually accounted for in the cost to train a male soldier versus a female soldier.
  • FACT
  • You wanna know why some crazy little fat guy like Kim Jong Un feels like he can fire off ICBM's wherever and whenever he wants? Here's your reason. Don't think for a minute that he doesn't read stuff like this and think (and rightly so) that this country is full of weak little crybabies that have no idea how to handle life when their little worlds are challenged.
  • Congratulations. You win the "Dumbest Comment in the Thread" award!
  • Yeah... Pretty much... Again.
  • And that was difficult to accomplish
  • Too bad we're not ruled by real brave men like you who have the courage to call people crybabies on the internet, then we'd really show Kim Jong Un who's boss! You might even call him a mean name on twitter or something bold like that!
  • Please little social justice warrior. So, if little Sundai's opinion was one in which he felt that men were being discriminated against in the workplace, and some woman wrote an internal memo criticizing that, and in turn was fired for it, you're on board with that, right? After all, it's a "private enterprise" and not the government. And, I have no problem putting my name behind my comments, unlike you, brave guy.
  • Discrimination in the workplace is wrong. Full stop. Anything else?
  • LOL
  • I don't know how you came to that assessment. Are you in contact with Kim Jong Un?
  • I'm completely flabbergasted by how completely the substance of this document has been misrepresented by the media. The author did not say women were incapable of being coders or that they were unsuited to be in the tech world. He merely pointed out that women are less likely to choose that career path than men, and that maybe discrimination is not responsible for the disparity in gender at tech firms.
  • Rational analysis has no place when talking about gender and race differences.
  • This view makes people uncomfortable. You're fired.
  • Everyone knows that women are less likely than men to choose a career in tech which essentially makes a memo about it pointless. Where he erred was saying it's because of their biology.
  • Yeah, that's not all he claimed.
  • It's completely fair/horribly unfair to fire this guy for what he wrote. It's completely fair/horribly unfair for the NFL to blacklist someone who doesn't stand for the pledge of allegiance. I'll show myself out.
  • Rabble rabble rabble rabble!
  • I agree with you, Jerry. Either way, they are private enterprises. Two entirely different kind of customer bases, but private nonetheless. So, Damore can be fired for expressing an opinion, and Kaepernick can be shut out from the NFL for the same reason. The difference is technology is a leftist dominated enterprise, and the NFL is a rightist one.
  • Exactly. Both cases are the same — it's our "feelings" that differ. FWIW, I would not have fired the guy. I would have used this for a learning experience for both sides. Damore is allowed to think the way he does. People who feel hurt or outraged are also allowed to think that way. But there are better ways to have the discussion, and those should be explained to all parties.
  • It would be very difficult to get out from under the label of "creating a toxic environment".
  • Maybe. And I'm sure company lawyers suggested firing him for that very reason. I still think an opportunity to make an example of how not to do something, then explain very carefully the correct way to do it was passed up here.
  • That opportunity doesn't go away just because they fired him. They can use it as an example for everyone else. Supposedly this guy has a history of sexism. Though how much of this is true is hard to say. http://gizmodo.com/fired-google-memo-writer-took-part-in-controversial-s...
  • You could say that it is a toxic environment for those who don't follow leftist ideals. I have been in technology companies that have inclusion and diversity initiatives that everyone has to answer for at the end of the year on their performance reviews. These initiatives to hire women and minorities basically changed the demographics of the teams I worked on from predominately white men (16 out of 20), to predominately non white men(2 out of 20), with very few women before and after. The company went largely to hiring H1B visas, even though they used to have many Americans doing the jobs before hand. They went through several layoff cycles getting rid of higher paid engineers and hiring those H1Bs. Speaking up about what was going on was essentially career suicide.
    Tech companies based in California have this mentality as well. You must be progressive or keep your mouth shut. They also create a toxic work environment. Like the articles about this issue says, this engineer isn't alone in speaking about what he sees are going on are issues at the company, and actually had ideas on how to promote the work of women better. I feel that most haven't actually read what he wrote. They just took the headlines from different news outlets and assume he said women don't belong in tech, which is absolutely not what he said.
  • Nuclear Resignation? Can't help but wonder if the original memo was a "nuke the bridge" letter of resignation, possibly with political ambition.
  • Yep. Google has an internal discussion system where users are anonymous and can express "stuff". By not using it, Damore left himself open to the consequences, and he's smart enough to know what they would be.
  • If this memo was written without anticipating it would cost him his job, this person is naive. . - The memo violated the Code of Conduct he agreed to when he took the job at Google. Sorry, but you give up any freedom of speech you may have when you agreed to sell your time to a large corporation for money. That's the way the world works.
    - This memo made him radioactive within the company. A large majority of his coworkers would likely refuse to collaborate with him after reading this. If you put him on a team of like minded co-workers, many others will avoid working with this team. He basically nuked himself and his career at Google. I hope he understood all of this before he hit send.
  • The code of conduct is meaningless. Discrimination is against the code of conduct but there are plenty of internal company sponsored groups that restrict by gender and race. Discrimination in the name of inclusion and diversity is allowed.
  • We knew this was going to happen after they hired that Diversity VP. Bad move Google.
  • The most frustrating part of this discussion is that the arguments don't really discuss the facts. He never argues that women are less capable than men but that evolutionary biology influences career choice differences between the two sexes. That's hardly controversial. The good thing about all the discussion is that people are being generally respectful which is rare these days.
  • Okay, so I just read it. While there are certainly some foolish statements, it's not nearly as inflammatory as the media is making it out to be. Also, the overriding point the guy is trying to make is a very good one. He really screwed up with the "Neuroticism" comment though. Anyone would take offense to that, and women definitely don't have the monopoly on neurosis; though in my experience, a man's neurosis tends to manifest differently, which may explain why men slide under the radar on that one.
  • Freedom of speech is not an avoidence of consequences of free speech.. You can say what you wan but be ready for the reprocussions whether good, bad, or indifferent.
  • That's not freedom of speech then LoL
  • That's like saying you can talk trash about Trump but at the end of the day you will be shipped off to a labor camp. You people are some scary individuals.
  • It is not anything like that at all. The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits Congress from enacting laws infringing on free speech. In your "labor camp" scenario, there would be a law that is broken. This is certainly not the case here. No law was broken. Nobody was arrested. Freedom of Speech has never been about Say Anything and it is OK. The "yelling fire in a theatre" example has been upheld in the US Supreme Court. You cannot simply say anything you want and expect no consequences. Honestly, your understanding of Freedom of Speech is woefully lacking.
  • It blows my mind how many people here are NOT supporting free speech (yeah I know he was at work) all while advocating the suppression of expression. I wonder if you all would be acting like this if the elements involved in this situation were reversed?
  • If you know he was at work then you know this isn't a First Amendment issue. If you know the government was not suppressing his speech then you also know that this is not a First Amendment issue. It's not a First Amendment issue.
  • I think you're confused. James Damore exercised his right to freedom of speech by publishing a document criticizing Google's diversity policies. Other Google employees then exercised their right to freedom of speech by responding to the document he published, many of them reacting negatively. The press then exercised their right to report on this document, after which many people in the general public used their freedom of speech to responded to the content of this document. After considering the reaction within the company and of the general public, as well as their own internal conduct policies that James Damore had agreed to as a condition of his employment with Google, the company then exercised their right to fire him for violation of that policy. Try as I might, I don't see any part of that chain of events where the government got involved and attempted to threaten Damore's right to free speech, or indeed where anyone suggested that Damore didn't have the right to free speech. This leads me to conclude that you simply don't know what freedom of speech is, that you somehow thinks it means you can say whatever you want with no worry that anyone else will respond negatively to what you said. That's not actually what freedom of speech has ever meant.
  • @thisisjason - Great points and I agree with you completely. That said, I think blucero23 has a valid point - if the elements of this case were reversed, the narrative would be much different and it's highly unlikely the employee would've been fired.
  • Since when did sending a memo during company hours have anything to do with free speech? If you worked for a car dealership and spent your working day telling people that your company's vehicles were a bit rubbish under the pretence of free speech, would you not be surprised that you were fired for violating company policy?
  • Google was a customer of ours from 3 years, 2004 to 2007. They were so farking political even back then, I killed our contract. My sales executive was a 27 yr old female who had multiple lesbians hit on her, time after time. She made nav formal complaint, but nothing happened. She asked me to engage with them, and I demanded a face to face meeting. I got it with a massive Bull Dykeb who gave me so much ****, I killed our contract then and there. Wasn't kosher, but I dared their legal team to take me to court. They demerred. Google is nothing but "Do Evil."
  • He was fired because, to Google, it was easier to silence his opinion by force than denouncing any inaccuracy in his memorandum with facts. Which is what civilised people do (apparently Sundar Pichai who likes to pose as an intelligent man never read Stuart Mill...). Which is very typical of the leftist liberal social warrior scum that populate the media and many Corporations these days, including Google. I'm glad bis suing them. And Google pretty much proved his point too. So... Win/win.
  • He got railroaded...
  • If someone is confused about their gender, just look in their underwear!!!!
  • Feel free to express your opinion! Unless it's not the same as our generally liberal opinion...
  • Precisely. If you don't like the policies of the company you work for go and work for one that you do. I hear Uber are hiring.
  • This isn't church, where if you disagree with what the pastor is saying, you go find another church. This is people's livelihood. Good luck finding a company that both pays well, and agrees with everything that you think. I'm well aware that they have every legal right to fire him. I'm well aware that he shouldn't have publicly criticized them. I just find it humorous that they say they want everyone to feel free to express their opinion, but they're firing him anyway for having an opinion contrary to their own "corporate opinion".
  • Plain and simple, If Google is happy to fire a white male employee for questioning the assumptions of its diversity campaign, what is to stop it from firing a female employee for complaining about corporate sexism?
  • If people lose their jobs for speaking up, they will stop doing so. And if people are afraid to speak up, we are lost.
  • Go ask 100 randomly selected women if they are interested in a career as a computer programmer. A large majority will probably say no. Ask them what is the reason. The fear of sexism in the industry will probably not be even in the list. There are plenty of other good reasons for not choosing a career where you spend 10 hours a day sitting on front of a computer screen with little or no human interaction. This idea that sexism is what is preventing most young women from selecting technology as a career path is nothing more than a myth created to support a political agenda. Women are smart enough to know they will face some level sexism regardless of which career path they choose.
  • Google just flagged your Play account, you misogynistic SOB!